After teasing the app for what seemed like years, BlackBerry finally released its BBM client to Android last October, to a somewhat surprising number of downloads. Today, the company has released a private beta of the app that includes the promised Channels feature, as well as voice chat support (via Engadget).
Channels is BlackBerry’s stab at a social network. The company describes it as something similar to Tumblr. Voice chat is exactly what it sounds like. It’s essentially Skype, but baked right in to the BBM app. Users can call each other, for free, over WiFi networks. This is something that Android users have been wanting for a while now in Google’s Hangouts app, so it’s surprising to see BlackBerry beat Google to the punch.
The update is available via the BlackBerry Beta Zone now. There’s no word on public availability, or when/if the update will come to iOS.